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A Dreamer's Dance

A Dreamer's Dance

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A Dreamer's Dance

282 Seiten
4 Stunden
Jan 1, 2020


Nothing is so comforting as a glimmer of strangeness in a familiar world.


D.E. Ladd offers up a diverse collection of dramatic and comical fiction set in the past, the present, and the dystopian future. A Dreamer's Dance flings the reader from a hopelessly romantic "serial idiot" in clumsy pursuit of a woman's affection, to a dark comedy involving an old barn, an abusive ex-boyfriend, and a chainsaw. A mother of two struggles with self-doubt over her parenting and shopping skills on Christmas Eve, and a dumbfounded teen joins an alien invader on a mission to deliver an ominous warning to the people of Earth. Unique characters and worlds align to tell stories that are dramatic, sometimes dark, and often comical—but never dull. This collection swings from drama to dark humor to romantic comedy, with a detour into a few stories that defy description.

Jan 1, 2020

Über den Autor


A Dreamer's Dance - D.E. Ladd

This is a work of fiction. All characters, places, organizations and incidents portrayed in this work are to be considered the product of the author’s imagination and are all used fictitiously.

A Dreamer’s Dance

Copyright © 2019 by Derek E. Ladd

ISBN #978-0-9723275-4-1 (trade paperback)

ISBN #978-0-9723275-8-9 (eBook)

All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Intended audience: Adult

Genres(s): Drama, Comedy, Short Fiction

This book contains the following: profanity, adult content and sexual situations, some violence.

Summary: A collection of short dramatic and comedic fiction.

This book was printed in the United States of America.

Published by Avian Wing Media, in association with Avian Entertainment, LLC.

Avian Wing Media

834 SW 15th Avenue

Portland, OR 97205

In memory of Roberta Lee Brown, the most inspiring English teacher I ever had. Thank you for your guidance and encouragement during my early development as a writer, and for making this book (and many others) possible.

This book is also dedicated to Jean Zarrilli, (formerly Miss Hunter) for taking the time to host all those evening writing classes that helped me so much. Thank you, Jean, for insisting I was a writer long before I realized it myself, and for making me believe it.



Dod the Avenger

Love is a Dirty Deal

Emmit’s Story

Reunion at the Chamber of Horrors

Footprints in the Snow


The Screenwriter and the Beetle

Earth is a Third World Country

Lost and Found

If God Doesn’t Have a Sense of Humor, I’m in Big Trouble


A Dreamer’s Dance

Author’s Note


About the Author


Astral bodies, celestial dances—eternally flaming gods

Human intervention just kills loving mother

Not only princes question radiant stars

Time unravels voices, with Xhosa yelling ‘Zeus!’

~D.E. Ladd ’98

Dod the Avenger

A puffy ball of ash-gray thundercloud exploded into being over the ocean about a hundred yards offshore. In half a wink, it went from a giant orb of electrified dust to a bluish-silver sphere. It rose out of the water, radiating a hazy blue, and when the light faded, a naked alien being stood upon the rippling surface. A handful of witnesses gaped in shock as the alien strode toward them over the shallow ocean waves.

The water-walking creature stood about seven feet tall, had smooth yellowish skin, and an apparent lack of reproductive organs. As it drew closer to the shoreline, swirling shades of green, blue, and orange played in its large eyes.

The alien stopped on the sandy beach five feet away from the small gathering of onlookers. Its fingers and toes were long and jointed in multiple places, tipped with sharp yellowish nails. It locked its gaze on one of the witnesses, a wiry teen with a mop of black hair named Jules, while its mouth twitched and its tiny nostrils flared in what looked like anger.

"Mascavallact! Deducevat, mascavallact?"

Jules stared at the alien, dumbstruck and horrified.

"Mascavallact!" it repeated, flexing its long fingers.

I…I don’t understand.

Pastakookian dialect, huh? Not surprising in the least. Who’s in charge around here? The alien looked around at the other witnesses, several of whom ran off screaming. It spoke in a stiff and clear high-pitched voice. The creature sounded intelligent, and based on its demeanor and tone, one would likely assume it was a male.

You hear me? Who’s in charge around here? the alien asked again. He angled his head downward with a frightful grimace and resumed his examination of the beach, the people walking and riding by, the cars gliding past on the street, and the sparkling cityscape beyond. This might be worse than I’d expected, he muttered.

Wh-Who are you? Jules started to back away.

The alien snapped his head toward Jules and grinned horribly, exposing a wide row of sharp little teeth. "So you do understand me. Why did you wait until now to speak? No matter. My name is Cxhuissavant, or in your primitive dialect, Dod. Now who’s in charge of all this?" He waved his large hand.

I…I don’t—

Before Jules could form a coherent response, Dod was making long strides toward the edge of the beach.

"You there! Yes, you!" Dod closed in on a frumpy, middle-aged man who’d casually tossed a cigarette butt onto the sand.

The man’s eyes widened, and he mumbled a slew of obscenities.

What did you just do? I saw you. Pick it up right this instant, you hear me? What in the world do you think you’re—? Dod’s large eyes swept over the sand. Cigarette butts littered the entire beach.

"Cavactashula! He seized the man by the shirt and hoisted him effortlessly into the air. Dod’s eyes swirled as he glared at him. Pick them up! Every last one!"

The man’s face went pale. A wet spot grew on his pants just below the belt.

Some people ran away, while others crept closer to investigate, as if Dod were a domesticated bear or giraffe.

Dod dropped the man onto the sand and surveyed the growing crowd of people surrounding him. The middle-aged smoker frantically scooped up cigarette butts, muttering prayers under his breath.

You there! Which one of you is in charge? Dod asked the onlookers.

Several more people screamed and ran away, but others smiled and drew closer.

Well? Dod took the time to meet each pair of eyes. When no reply came, he heaved a sigh of disgust and made for the street. This is hopeless.

Jules remained where he stood for a moment then followed him.

In the middle of the boulevard, Dod bent down and snatched up a greasy piece of paper blowing across the asphalt. Whose is this? He held up the bit of trash between two fingers.

More terrified people ran away in a panic. Cars stopped in the street, drivers cursing the delay.

Dod charged across the road to a small cluster of trees surrounded by a circular bench. He placed a hand on the largest of the four trees and cried out in alarm. "Whose animal has been urinating on this tree?"

Every dog walker within earshot fled the scene.

Red and blue lights suddenly splattered the congested area as four police cruisers approached from the west, joined by three more from the east. Two black sedans arrived moments later, followed by a large navy-blue truck carrying SWAT officers.

The police ordered the crowds back as a dozen or so men brandishing weapons and radios inched toward Dod.

Easy, fella, a stocky cop said, walking toward Dod with a Taser in one hand and a baton in the other.

Are you in charge around here? Dod asked, pointing at him.

The stocky cop inched closer. That’s right. Now just relax.

Five more officers surrounded Dod. Three men from SWAT hurried to nearby rooftops and settled into position. The men from the black sedans whispered into their radios that Dod had to be taken alive.

Well, Dod said, if you’re in charge, I have a few things to—

Now! yelled the stocky cop, leading the charge.

Six police officers attacked Dod at the same time. Tasers sparked, batons thumped, and two muscular cops tried to tackle him to the ground.

Dod stood in the middle, raising his arms as they tried to beat or subdue him. He would not be bruised, shocked, or moved.

More like a lump of stone than a man, Dod looked down in confusion at their antics, his mouth twitching. What are you doing? Stop that.

The officers sagged, as if the odd being had absorbed all their strength.

Okay, it’s too dangerous! Take him out! The captain’s voice rang out over the officers’ little radios.

Huffing and puffing, the men stepped back, and the stocky cop gave the order to draw weapons. Ready…aim…

Dod wiggled his fingers, and their many weapons turned to dust. "Listen to me now. I wish to speak to the one in charge. Clearly this person is not among you, so if you’d be so kind as to lead me to him, I could deliver my message."

The stocky cop called for more weaponry, but before anyone could move, Dod huffed angrily and waved his hand in the air. Every officer and agent turned to dust, as well, including those on the rooftops. Even a few curious civilians who got in the way disintegrated.

Panic ensued. Tires squealed. Cars bashed into each other as their drivers fled in panic. Screams filled the air as men and women ran in all directions.

Dod sighed. I was hoping to avoid this.

Jules stood frozen in shock as Dod stormed toward him.

You! Boy! Come over here! Dod said. "I need to speak to the one in charge. Do you know who he is?"

Jules’s mouth worked, but only tiny squeaks emerged.

Think, now. This is important. You haven’t got much time.

The…president of the United States. That’s…he’s our leader, I guess, Jules said.

Good, good. Now where does he stay?

Behind Dod, someone had set a car on fire. People threw bottles and rocks at buildings. Gunshots and screaming echoed down the street.

Jules blinked in a daze at the surrounding mayhem. Uh… Maryland… Washington, DC.

Which way is that?

A car exploded less than fifty feet away. Jules threw his hands over his head and ducked. What?

Dod grabbed Jules and shook him by the shoulders. What direction, crazy man? We’re running out of time.

Uh…east. That way, Jules said, pointing.

Dod grasped his arm. You’re coming with me. He looked over his shoulder. A short man on a bicycle pulled a red wagon with a stolen television in it. A woman with long blond hair shouted at the top of her lungs about how Jesus had returned as an alien and that he was really pissed.

Does your leader have any idea how crazy you people are? Dod asked.

A greenish rippling contorted the air, warping the fabric of reality and time. In a matter of seconds, they arrived just outside Baltimore. They’d landed near an industrial facility. Huge smokestacks pumped pollution into the air.

Is this it? Dod asked, assessing the city in the distance.

Dod’s eyes flared with red and purple. He cursed and waved his hand. The entire monstrosity of concrete and steel collapsed into a pile of silvery-white dust.

Okay, now where is this leader of yours? Dod’s eyes narrowed at their surroundings. The tiny white and red lights of cars zipped along the highways and over bridges. Dod grunted with disgust and whirled his hand in the air.

The lights, the distant sounds, and even the smells vanished, leaving the area all around them instantly dark and silent. Jules gasped for air.

Dod gave him a friendly pat on the back. What’s the matter with you? Come on, now. We have no time for this nonsense. Let’s go find this leader of yours.

After much sputtering and gasping for breath, Jules finally explained to Dod where to find Washington, D.C. They entered another warp and hopscotched through town after town before finally appearing on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The White House resembled a precious chunk of marble nestled in a twisted shrub of barbed wire. Makeshift fences rose twenty feet high around it. The grounds buzzed with mechanical weapons and armed soldiers, all scurrying about like busy ants eager to defend their queen.

As Jules and Dod approached the perimeter, several soldiers aimed weapons at them and ordered them not to move. Dod shook his head and smirked. He waved his hand, and the entire battalion and all their weapons and equipment blew away like glitter tossed into the wind.

"I assume he’s in there," Dod grumbled.

Jules followed close behind as Dod approached the wall of barbed wire and wiggled his fingers, making a wide gap appear. They walked through and strolled up to the front door, which Dod eliminated.

Six Marines fired machine guns. Jules hid behind Dod, who waved his hand at them.


Three more soldiers charged them in the hallway.


They approached a pair of double doors, which Dod disintegrated with a flick of his hand.

Secret Service fired on them.

More dust.

Inside the reinforced meeting room, a group of well-dressed men and women cowered, many of whom Jules recognized from the news. Behind a large desk sat the president of the United States, concern and outright fear marking his face.

Are you the one in charge of all this? Dod asked.


Speak up! The time you waste is your own. Makes no difference to me.

The president swallowed, rose from his chair on shaky legs, and said, I am the president of these United States.

"What the hell does that mean, these United States? I want the one in charge of all of it. The whole thing. Are you him or not?" Dod crossed his long arms.

The president shrugged and shook his head. He looked to his advisors, who nodded in encouragement. There are many leaders, all over the world, who—

All right, never mind. Shut up. Dod pinched his eyes closed in disgust. "Do you know who these other leaders are? Do you speak to them?"

I do.

Dod opened his eyes and glared at him. "Well, good. Listen to me, then. I don’t know what the hell you think this is, but I saw a man throwing small bits of trash into the sand by the ocean, I picked up a piece of greasy paper blowing about on the ground, and I found a group of trees being urinated on by tethered animals—pets, I believe you call them. All in one small area. Then I came over here and found that someone built a machine to put horrid fumes into the air. I took care of that one, but I suspect there’s a lot more work to be done here. I’m giving you two weeks."

A heavy sense of dread settled over the quiet room. The president and his aides exchanged worried glances. Dod paced the large room. He approached a shelf lined with fancy knickknacks and trophies.

Uh…two weeks? the president asked.

Dod shot him a glance. That’s right. Two weeks. Maybe less. That’s all I can give you. Make sure everyone’s prepared. He turned back to the shelf, studying the shiny trophies and poking at other things, knocking them over.

Two weeks for what, exactly? the president asked.

"For what? To get ready. Didn’t you hear me? Make all the necessary mental preparations and so forth. You’re going back. All of you. Dod knocked something off the shelf, and it shattered on the floor. How long have you been here? he asked. About a million years or so? Two million? You probably don’t even remember.

It doesn’t matter anyhow. Your little party is over. And don’t think of doing anything stupid, either. From what I’ve seen, you’re the type that likes weapons. Very primitive. You try using your weapons when the others arrive, and I promise you, they won’t be as patient as I’ve been.

Dod scowled as he passed a framed picture of the president. You know, I have no idea why they keep making your kind. You’re a lot more trouble than you’re worth—I can tell you that. And believe me, I know. I wonder who let you out. I’ll bet it was Burzel. Everything’s a big joke to him. No matter. Two weeks, president man! Be sure to inform the others.

Dod made eye contact with each person in the room. It would be very much appreciated if you could keep from screwing up anything else in the meantime. I’m sure I’ve got more than enough to deal with as it is. He shook his head like a disappointed parent, heaved a labored sigh, and left.

Jules, the president, and everyone else looked at each other inquisitively, not unlike scolded children whose punishment had only just begun.

Love is a Dirty Deal

Troy Kapperson had always considered Corey Jamison a sex fiend. And few of Corey’s friends knew him better than Troy. But even people who’d just met Corey could see it in his devilish blue eyes. Corey had three years on Troy. He’d been a senior of considerable influence at the high school they’d attended together for a year.

As luck—or perhaps something more perverted—would have it, Corey dated Troy’s sister, Tammy, the summer before his senior year. On several occasions during that summer, Corey followed her upstairs, where they made the floorboards moan and squeak beneath their weight on her single mattress and box spring. Corey frequently padded down the stairs in his jeans—no socks or shirt—and went into the bathroom to fetch a damp washcloth. Corey wandering through the living room half-dressed did make Troy wonder what might happen if his mother ever came home during the little half-hour sessions Corey spent with his sister.

On one occasion, Corey came over while Troy was poking around the yard for rocks and examining the more interesting subjects through a magnifying glass. Troy smiled and explained the difference between an igneous and a sedimentary rock, thus beginning their friendship.

Tammy left for college in the fall and never gave Corey a second thought, but her departure didn’t stop Corey’s visits. He drove Troy home several times a week, and they would indulge in cartoons and cupcakes. Then a girl would show up, usually one who smelled nice and looked even better. She’d gaze about the living room with her doe eyes, then smile and wave at Troy when Corey introduced the two of them. Corey and the girl would then go upstairs and fool around on Tammy’s bed.

Once, Corey sent Troy to the store for chips and soda. When Troy returned, he found Corey and his latest conquest screwing each other like brainsick rabbits in his parents’ bed.

About two months after that—on a cloudy Tuesday, as Troy remembered it—Corey approached him after the girl had left and apologized. Troy already knew Corey was using him, but he didn’t really care. Apparently, Corey’s mother was home all the time, and she kept a close eye on him, thus foiling any chance of him exercising his love muscle, as Corey so crassly put it.

After Corey apologized, he ceased using Troy’s house for his escapades and started giving Troy rides to school in his mint red-on-black 1968 Camaro Z-28. The chicks loved it.

Troy couldn’t believe more than ten years had flown by since then. His memories kept him amused as he settled in at the hotel and made plans to meet Corey at a restaurant they both enjoyed. He kept his wiry brown hair short, so it required little maintenance, and he dressed casually, owning virtually nothing that might burden him with a dry-cleaning bill. Unlike Corey, Troy preferred simplicity.

Relationships were not simple, Troy had found. They often became as burdensome and constricting as an expensive three-piece suit, making him feel like a part-time slave to what most people considered a normal life. Lately, he simply wanted no part of it. And Troy had always been too smart to bed down with strange women. The risks alone were enough to give any man pause these days.

Well, almost any man.

At the restaurant, Troy and Corey embraced like brothers. Corey looked the same as ever, his hair every bit as blond, his eyes alive and blue. He always appeared to be up to something or about to solve a challenging dilemma. They spent close to a half

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